Speaking at the international pledging conference for the reconstruction of Gaza on October 12, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon emphasized the need to prevent the “cycle of building and destroying” from becoming a ritual, by addressing the root causes of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Last summer’s war was the deadliest of three significant outbreaks of violence endured by the 1.8 million inhabitants of Gaza since December 2008. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry agreed, arguing that, without a long-term peace agreement, rebuilding homes and infrastructure in Gaza would be a mere “band-aid fix.”
This is entirely correct. But Palestinian leaders are also equally right in cautioning against resuming the existing peace process without correcting its deficiencies, as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas urged in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly on September 26. Former Prime Minister Salam Fayyad echoed this view in a recent op-ed, arguing that simply to “hit the reset button on the stalled peace process” would merely repeat past failures. Instead, they proposed that any new negotiations be conducted between a State of Palestine, recognized by international bodies, and Israel to finalize their borders, and that talks should be conducted within a revised framework based on the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, to end within an internationally mandated deadline.